Posts with the tag “devotions”
Exodus 40:34-38 – The Glory of the Lord
by Darren Parker on July 22nd, 2023
We have come to the end of our walk through Exodus. What a joy it has been to travel together. To see in this story of a nation, the bigger picture of God’s eternal plans to draw all people to himself. We have, as promised at the start, seen pattens of redemption throughout and have bumped into Jesus along the way. Israel’s story is our story and Israel’s God is our God.
Exodus 28,29,39 – The Priesthood
by Darren Parker on July 15th, 2023
As we continue to walk through the book of Exodus together, Moses has ascended Mount Sinai for forty days meeting with God. God reveals to him his plan for priests who were set apart to go in and out of the tabernacle representing a sinful people to a holy God, bringing the blood of sacrificed animals to cover the people’s sin, and bringing the presence of God to the people. We saw in the book of Hebrews in the New Testament that this was a copy of what was in heaven, a shadow of Jesus the high priest who did not need to sacrifice for his own sin but provided a once for all sacrifice for people who would come in to God’s holy presence through him.
Exodus 35-38,40 – How we worship
by Darren Parker on July 8th, 2023
In this week’s service we explore the significance of the Tabernacle. How it played an important symbolic and central role in the worship of God’s people while they journeyed through the desert. We also looked at how the Tabernacle points us towards Jesus, who is our true and better Tabernacle. It was on the cross that Jesus offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice. It was his death which tore the curtain of the Temple in two, from top to bottom. It is him we place at the centre of our worshipping church community. It is to him that we gather. He is worthy of our praise. He is our access into the very presence of God. Just like the Israelites, how we worship matters.
Exodus 35-36 – The Heart of Generosity
by Darren Parker on July 1st, 2023
My sermon was very much focussed on the motivation for giving. When it comes to generosity, we start with the heart, exposing it to God’s grace, vision, and Spirit. However, Exodus 35-36 also helps us look at the mode of giving. It’s also deeply practical. Let me, therefore, outline four steps for reviewing your giving, particularly to your local church.
Exodus 32 – "When Joshua heard ..."
by Darren Parker on June 24th, 2023
I love it when scripture surprises me. As you might imagine, having been a pastor for nearly 30 years I have read a lot of scripture and preached a lot of sermons. However, the Bible still surprises me. Verses that I am sure I have read before can leap out of the page, grab my attention, transform my thinking. This happened to me when preparing this week’s sermon. As I was looking at how the passage challenges our propensity to fall for the deception of idols, verse 17 snuck up on me: “When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses “there is the sound of war in the camp””.
Exodus 33 – God’s Presence With Us
by Darren Parker on June 18th, 2023
In this week’s devotional we will be digging deeper into Exodus 33, and also Ephesians 2, to explore what the presence of God means for us and our life. You might want to use this guide in your personal time with God over the course of the week, or in your Life Group or household. In Exodus 33 we see how Moses pleads for God’s presence to be with him and the Israelites, telling God he won’t go on to the Promised Land without him. God grants Moses with his presence, and in Jesus, we too can know the wonderful presence of God in our lives.
New Ground Sunday
by Darren Parker on June 11th, 2023
This week in our physical venues and across our Online Venue, we have been celebrating New Ground Sunday. Here at Everyday Church, we are part of a family of churches called Newfrontiers and within that Newfrontiers family we are part of New Ground. A number of years ago, because of growth and a desire to be more missional, Newfrontiers moved from being one family across the world to a wider family made up of different spheres. At the time we described it as a family moving from one nuclear family to a wider family with children who have themselves become parents. It is more organic than organisational, and over the last decade we have seen huge growth in the number of churches around the world that are part of the wider Newfrontiers family, but with real relational links to one of the smaller spheres.
Exodus 20:12-17 – God is at the heart of community
by Darren Parker on June 6th, 2023
We have been looking at the final 6 commandments in Exodus chapter 20 where God the Father declares his laws and seals his covenant with the Israelites. They were pauses on route to the promised land at Mount Sinai. There is a tendency when looking at the 10 commandments, to treat them as a list of rules to follow in order not to be on God’s bad side. The reality is that we get to see God’s heart for these people as he delivers on his promise to Abraham by making his descendants into a great nation. The 10 commandments are where this promise takes on a more civil and social focus. Thus far the Lord has brought his people out of Egypt and provided them with instructions on how to live as his people before they enter the promised land (Canaan). The theme for Exodus is that God fulfils his promises and we get to see that in how he’s taken these descendants of Abraham and turned them into a great nation. The plan was for Israel to live before God in the world, obeying the covenant instruction that he will reveal to them.
by Darren Parker on May 28th, 2023
There came a moment in history when God fulfilled one of His many promises. The promise had been that His presence would one day move from a temple, accessible by a small number of priestly, anointed individuals, to being poured out upon men and women from all nations and backgrounds. That which filled a holy sanctuary, hidden away from most, would fill and reside in the hearts of everyone who called upon Him. It’s hard to believe that when such an event takes place, an individual just carries on as normal. A transformation begins to take place. When we’re filled with the Holy Spirit, we’re enabled to speak to God differently; and we’re empowered to speak about Him and display His Kingdom differently as well. The Holy Spirit gives us GIFTS that allow that to happen. These gifts are referred to on many occasions throughout the New Testament, but are listed specifically in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 in particular.
Exodus 20:8-11 – Remember the Sabbath Day
by Darren Parker on May 21st, 2023
The fourth commandment is often treated as if it’s the least important. This is not surprising when you remember that other contenders cover murder and adultery! But on Sunday we considered how learning to build sabbath rhythms into our week actually gets to the very heart of what it means to live Christ centred lives. To approach things from a slightly different angle let’s look at Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. I’ve often felt sorry for Martha who Jesus gently rebukes when she is simply working hard to provide for her guests. What is it that Jesus commends so warmly in her sister Mary? Simply that she knows when to STOP! There may be many things that still need doing, but she knows that in this moment she needs pause, to focus her full attention on Jesus in a way that both honours him and replenishes her.
Exodus 20:1-7 – The First Three Commandments
by Darren Parker on May 14th, 2023
God is the only true God, the one that is to have all our devotion, our first love, our whole heart. God is passionate for our love as he loves us passionately. As a loving Father, God knows that only by worshipping him will we experience the fullness of the life he has created us for, and that worshipping anything else, might that be our career, our self-image, a position of influence and power. Drugs, alcohol or any other addiction, money, religion or sex, technology, leisure time, video games, worshipping anything else than him will eventually lead to our destruction. Worship is an all or nothing thing – we worship God alone, or we don’t worship God. He will not share our worship with anyone or anything. So he tells us to worship him with all our heart.
Exodus 19 – Come to the Mountain
by Darren Parker on May 7th, 2023
We have reached the halfway point in our walk through the book of Exodus. We have reached the point that the Hollywood films usually finish with – in fact, they often finish just the other side of the Red Sea. In our sermon this week we have reminded ourselves that God draws the people out of Egypt to draw them into relationship. God rescues families to form them into a people, a nation, a kingdom of priests.
Exodus 16-17 – The LORD who provides
by Darren Parker on April 30th, 2023
Welcome to this week’s Devotion. In our walk through Exodus, we arrived at Exodus 16-17. In our sermon this week, Cameron helpfully unpacked these two chapters that speak of God’s wonderful commitment to provide for his people as they walked out of Egypt and through the wilderness; manna, quail, water, clothes and shoes that didn’t wear out. Time after time God graciously provides. Time after time God’s people grumble and complain. This week I want to lead us in a song of worship. It’s a song called “Provider” and it was written in response to God’s miraculous provision in a time of personal need for me – Listen to “Provider” here.
Exodus 13-15 – Singing a New Song to God
by Darren Parker on April 23rd, 2023
I sometimes wonder whether we have lost the art of spontaneous worship. I love the songs we sing at Everyday Church, but I also know in my life, I have seen God move in spectacular ways, but I often forget to play that back to Him in worship. I have more than enough material to write songs of my own! Don’t mishear me, I am very grateful for the gifted worship leaders that we have in and out of our church, and you’ll never hear one of my tunes on Spotify anytime soon! I wonder though, if one of the ways we can and should respond to Him, is by writing some redemption songs of our own.
Vision & Values – Refresh
by Darren Parker on April 16th, 2023
Hopefully, you will remember our Vision & Values series from January and February of this year. We spent six weeks unpacking the statement: “Who we are and why we are here”. We unpacked those eight words, with seven key words: Son – Father – Spirit – Grace – Community – Kingdom – Love We reminded ourselves that our purpose flows out of our identity – we are Kingdom bringers because we are image bearers.
Easter - First Fruits
by Darren Parker on April 9th, 2023
Death separates us from one another, that is why funerals are so painful as we are forced to face up to that reality. But the Easter truth that I love to proclaim at the funerals is that death can never separate a child of God from the love of God. In 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 Paul goes on to say, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” Through his death and resurrection Jesus has broken the strangle hold of death over all who are “in him”.
Exodus 12 – Jesus and The Passover Lamb
by Darren Parker on April 2nd, 2023
As those of you who know me know, I love Christmas. I love celebrating the birth of Jesus. I love all the biblical truth that we read and sing in that season. I love our family and church traditions that have built up over the years. But – Christmas would be irrelevant if it wasn’t for this week – if it wasn’t for the cross and the death of Jesus. We celebrate birthdays, we generally do not establish festivals around deaths. But we do with Jesus.
Exodus 5-11 – Pharaoh’s Hard Heart verses God’s Sovereignty
by Darren Parker on March 26th, 2023
We’re now on week 5 of our walk through the book of Exodus, the 2nd book in the Bible. And I want to share some thoughts to help you to pick up a specific theme that reoccurs throughout chapters 5-11 in particular. We’re considering this week the concept that someone can have a hardened heart towards God; as demonstrated over and over again by Pharaoh (King of Egypt). Other parts of the Bible refer to people also having a calloused heart or a darkened heart. (Matthew 13:15; Psalm 17:10; Ephesians 4:18; Romans 2: 5)
Exodus 7-10 – The Purpose of the Plagues
by Darren Parker on March 19th, 2023
Exodus chapters 7 to 10 lead us through Moses’ confrontations with Pharaoh, with, as David Pawson says, words followed by works, discourse followed by destruction. The plagues reveal both God’s justice and mercy - his grace in giving warning before final judgement and his power and sovereignty over the Egyptian gods and Pharaoh. But most of all a demonstration to both the Israelites, Egyptians and us, that God is God alone. In our response to this God entreats us not to harden our hearts, for now is the time of salvation. Moses brought word from God to Pharaoh ‘Let my people go that they may worship me’ (Exodus 7:16, NIV). We are set free to follow, to serve, to worship. God calls us to worship with everything we are and everything we have.
Exodus 2-5 – Imperfect Leader
by Darren Parker on March 12th, 2023
Moses is without doubt one of the heroes of scripture. A leader who managed to lead 2 million people right to the edge of the Promised Land. A leader who took up leadership at 80 years of age and led for 40 years. A man who suffered abuse, grumbling, open revolt, great victories and tragic disappointments. It would be easy to view him as a superhuman. A man totally different to you and me. However, as we read through Exodus we discover that in many ways he was just like us. This is never more apparent than in his interaction with God when he is being called to leadership. Moses is presented with an incredible call and commission – lead the people of God out of captivity to the superpower of his day. His response – send someone else.
Exodus 3 - Name of God
by Darren Parker on March 5th, 2023
God says, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” As well as saying this to simply differentiate himself from the many other gods worshipped at the time, I also find this name deeply reassuring. It starts, “I am the God of your father…” Moses probably didn’t know his biological parents, Amran and Jochebed, very well, if at all, as he grew up in the palace. They had been given some precious time with Moses as a baby, at least until he was weaned, but may not have seen much of him since.
Exodus 1-2 - Introduction
by Darren Parker on February 26th, 2023
Welcome to our first devotion in our new series on Exodus. If you have already watched or heard the first sermon in this series (and If not check it out on the Everyday App or on our Youtube Channel), you will know that these devotions are a key part of our journey through this amazing book. In these devotions we will have a chance to reflect on what has been preached, but also to draw out something that there wasn’t time to get to in 30 minutes on a Sunday or as part of our Online Church Service. In our sermon we looked at the big themes of the book, the highs and lows, the patterns of redemption that point to God’s big salvation narrative, and finally at the fact that in walking through Exodus we will constantly be bumping into Jesus. In this devotion I want to draw out 4 specific themes for us to think about this week.
The Lord's Prayer
by Darren Parker on February 19th, 2023
The Lord's Prayer is like a diamond with many different facets - Jesus is teaching us to pray this prayer containing so many different forms of prayer; adoration, submission, spiritual warfare, confession, petition - it's all in there. But the form of prayer I want to say a bit more about here, is intercession. Or more concretely the part of intercession where we seek God for him to reveal what his will is so we can work with him. That is what intercession is. We work with God, through our prayers, in seeing his will breaking through in situations and lives here on earth.
Vision & Values 6 – Love
by Darren Parker on February 12th, 2023
So we come to the end of this Vision and Values series. Reminding ourselves that who we are will always shape what we do. Our purpose as Kingdom bringers flows out of our identity as image bearers. Discipleship leads us to the Kingdom. This week in our sermon we recognised that our vision of following Jesus together as a covenant community is not always matched by our reality. Our individual and corporate imperfections – those bits of us that are not yet quite like Jesus – cause us disappointment and pain.
Vision & Values 5 – Kingdom
by Darren Parker on February 5th, 2023
About a year after I became a Christian and was baptised I felt God call me to leadership – a call that he has confirmed many times since. That first time back in 1984 the call came through scripture – specifically Isaiah 61 – why don’t you take a moment now to read it through. Three things happened in my heart on that first occasion – what I realise now will have been the first time I would have read those words. Firstly I realised that it was all about the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me. Secondly that I was being called to preach the gospel and thirdly that the gospel was about more than just personal salvation – it was about the Kingdom of God.
Vision & Values 4 – Community
by Darren Parker on January 29th, 2023
Christians should love the church. Jesus loves his church, community is God’s idea and the church is his plan A for impacting the world with his kingdom. However, the reality is we can often struggle with church. The latest census reveals that in the UK 46% of people would still describe themselves as Christian – that is actually quite encouraging – but less than 5% are part of a church community. Why is that? When God exists in community, creates out of community, creates for community, saves through community and Jesus built community. What is it that causes so many people to identify as Christian, yet not commit to a local church?
Vision & Values 3 – Grace
by Darren Parker on January 22nd, 2023
Ephesians 2 verses 1-10 is one of the great levellers of the New Testament. You do not need to be a biblical scholar to understand it – though a bit of study will help you with some of the beautiful nuances. But at first reading it leaves you in no doubt as to its meaning. We were dead in our sin – unresponsive to the majesty of God. Lost in our own selfishness. There was no hope! But God – who is rich in mercy has made us alive in Christ!! The richness and generosity of God is brought to bear against my spiritual poverty. I am transformed by the grace of God. The grace of God secures my salvation and holds my salvation secure – wow.
Vision & Values 2 – Father & Spirit
by Darren Parker on January 15th, 2023
Jesus points us to the Father and promises us the Holy Spirit. Jesus also models for us a relationship with the Father and a life lived full of the Holy Spirit. Although Jesus is fully God, he is also fully man, and as such he displays in his life how we can live our lives in relationship with the Father and dependent on the Holy Spirit. Jesus uses the spiritual disciplines of prayer, worship and study to engage with and deepen his relationship with God and his dependency on the Holy Spirit. This is not because he is being religious, but because he knows it is all about relationship.
Vision & Values 1 – Son
by Darren Parker on January 8th, 2023
This week we have begun a 6 week journey together. A journey in which we will be aiming to remind ourselves of who we are and why we are here! As part of this journey, our Devotions – both our video and written versions – will take on a slightly different format. They will work closely with the sermons being preached in our venues each week. Their aim will be to ground some of the concepts that we are unpacking in the reality of our daily lives. Ephesians 4:11-16 tells us that the leadership gifts that Christ gives to his body the church are given to equip and mature believers. When we preach on a Sunday or Online, this is our aim. To open the scriptures in such a way that those listening, those watching, those taking notes (always a good idea!) are not just kept awake, or entertained, but are equipped.
by Darren Parker on November 27th, 2022
We are at the end of John's gospel. We have unpacked chapter 21 in our sermon this week, and I just want to focus on one verse. In verse 22 Peter asks Jesus a question. He wants to know if John is going to live forever or until Jesus returns? And Jesus answers “if I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:22).
by Darren Parker on November 20th, 2022
Jesus prayer for us in this chapter is amazing. That on the night before his most challenging day Jesus should turn his prayers towards others is yet another example of God’s love for the world. Not only does Jesus pray for the disciples who are about to desert him and hide away for fear of the Jews, he also prays for us – for you and me. What is more he continues to intercede for us in the heavens (Romans 8:34). We unpack Jesus’ prayer in this week’s sermon.
by Darren Parker on November 13th, 2022
We are working our way through the gospel of John. John has led us through Jesus’ ministry over three years, and then concentrates on the last week and we have now reached the last evening before Jesus’ crucifixion. John shows us that Jesus is the Word made flesh and that Jesus brings God close and is God. But here in this passage, he demonstrates to us that Jesus brings us to the Father, and that we can have direct access to the Father because Jesus takes away the barrier of sin through his death and his resurrection and he is now ascended and at the Father’s right side, and makes it possible for us to approach the Father with confidence. (See Hebrews 4:16 and Hebrews 10:19-22). It’s so encouraging that we get to come straight through, even if we’ve messed up – definitely when we’ve messed up! (Romans 8:1). We can come, knowing that our sins are forgiven and we are adopted as sons and daughters (Romans 8:14).
by Darren Parker on October 30th, 2022
Even in the midst of persecution they are to preach the gospel of grace. What is more he reminds them that the Holy Spirit is also on mission.
by Darren Parker on October 23rd, 2022
I love that in a few short statements, we are provided a most incredible framework to view life. Simple in one sense – enormously profound in another. There is a Gardener. There is a Vine. There are branches. Each have a place, a purpose, a role. There is only one Gardener. There is only one Vine. There are numerous branches. Too numerous to begin counting. And all three parts are linked.
by Darren Parker on October 16th, 2022
In the message this week we're looking at 19 verses packed with powerful promises, and I encourage you to read the whole passage and let God speak all of these truths into your life. However for this devotion we will stop up at the second promise of this passage, found in verse 13-14 where Jesus says: 'You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it'
by Darren Parker on October 9th, 2022
Jesus is having a conversation with his disciples Philip and Thomas, unpacking some of the mysteries he has shown them. In the previous chapter the disciples have just heard that where Jesus is going they cannot come. Which prompted this exchange. Thematically John’s Gospel points us to Jesus being the promised Messiah and the Son of God by believing in him and inheriting eternal life with the Father. The interesting thing here is that Jesus isn’t blunt, he is gentle and subtle with his disciples and us, revealing himself slowly. He gives us strong hints as to where he is going (back to the Father/ heaven) and what he is doing there preparing a way for us to join him. Yes, there is a place for us all in heaven, if we accept Jesus. I love how the work has all been done at the cross but the onus is on us to receive him. Salvation cannot be earned but is a gift that is freely given.
by Darren Parker on October 2nd, 2022
This weeks message follows on from the extraordinary act of service Jesus performs earlier in John 13, where He washes His disciples feet. It quickly becomes quite dramatic however, when Jesus declares that one of them will betray Him (which is then immediately fulfilled by Judas Iscariot). The big idea I discuss in this message is that even though Jesus knew Judas (and also Simon Peter in a slightly different way) were going to betray Him, that didn’t stop Him from being close to them, loving them, and pouring into them. We might not be subject to the same kinds of betrayal that Jesus was, but we can also categorise people depending on what they can do for us, whether they are like us, or whether we think they are “good” or “bad”. Tim Maton described the foot washing act as indiscriminate, and this should give us pause for thought.
by Darren Parker on September 25th, 2022
Some Christians continue to take Jesus’ instruction literally, including Eastern Orthodox and Mennonite traditions. While I think Jesus’ foot washing example gives us principles rather than rituals, it might still be a useful exercise in Life Group one day. I must admit, though, I find feet quite ugly, especially mine. They tend to take a bit of a battering from daily life. Then there’s athlete’s foot, verrucas, black nails, bunions, and ‘toe jam’! Toe jam is like belly button fluff but more grimy, damp and smelly! Sorry, but perhaps that’s Jesus’ point. I found having my feet washed harder than washing someone else’s. But we must learn to receive acts of service, as it helps us die to self-sufficiency, and we mustn’t deny others the blessing for serving well.
by Darren Parker on September 11th, 2022
This week we get back into John’s gospel after our summer break. We remind ourselves that John is writing his gospel to help his first readers, and us, see who Jesus was and is. John structures his gospel around 7 signs and 7 “I am” statements. The purpose of these two groups of 7 is the same. Look at what Jesus did (the signs) and listen to what Jesus said about himself (The “I am’s”) and make a decision about the man that they reveal. Our passage this week is reflecting the response of a particular group of people to the seventh of the signs – the raising of Lazarus.
Vision : Matthew 28:16-20
by Darren Parker on September 4th, 2022
Vision is vital. We live in a changing world. Some of that change is God ordained. Seasons in the natural world, stages of life, day and night. These are all part of the rhythm that God placed in the world for our good and wellbeing. However, we are also surrounded by unstructured change. From pandemics to drought, from the war in Ukraine to economic challenges. These seemingly random changes can cause us to drop our heads and just try and get through the day. It is vision that lifts our heads. It is God’s vision that reminds us that we are created for greater things, for eternal things, for Kingdom exploits.